Federal Court Rejects Argument That Manufacturer Cannot Be Liable for Asbestos-Containing Component Parts

The plaintiffs filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District, Philadelphia County, against various defendants claiming that the decedent, who had been employed since the 1950s as a millwright in multiple power plants and steel mill factories, developed work-related malignant mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos and to products containing asbestos.

This state action was ultimately removed to federal court and became part of Multidistrict Litigation-875 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Here, the plaintiffs specifically alleged that defendant Crane Co. manufactured, produced, …

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Court Provides Mixed Ruling on Motions for Summary Judgment on Punitive Damages Brought by Boiler Manufacturers

The Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County in Pennsylvania recently ruled on partial motions for summary judgment with respect to punitive damages asserted by the paintiffs, Robert Horst, Jr. and Diane Horst. Defendants filing said motions included Burnham, LLC , Lennox Industries, Inc., and Weil-McLain.

The court stated that, in Pennsylvania, a punitive damages claim must be supported by evidence sufficient to establish that (1) a defendant had a subjective appreciation of the risk of harm to which the plaintiff was exposed and that …

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Pennsylvania Federal Court Denies Defendant’s Motion to Mold Verdict and Grants Plaintiff’s Motion to Apply Delay Damages to Compensatory Damages

The plaintiff-decedent, Valent Rabovsky, and his wife Ann Rabovsky filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, claiming that the plaintiff-decedent, who had worked as a millwright in the 1950s, developed malignant mesothelioma from work-related exposure to asbestos and asbestos containing products, which were produced, manufactured, and/or distributed by various defendants (Case was removed to Federal Court three months later).

On February 2, 2016, a jury trial was held on the issue of whether defendant Crane Co. was negligent in failing to warn …

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Plaintiff’s Failure to List Claims in Bankruptcy Petition Not Enough to Warrant Judicial Estoppel of Such Claims

In 2000, the plaintiff brought claims for non-malignant asbestos-related diseases, including ship owners represented by Thompson Hine LLP. In 2004, the plaintiff filed for bankruptcy, without listing his asbestos claims as assets. Three months later the bankruptcy case was closed. In 2007, the plaintiff brought claims for a malignant asbestos-related disease; in 2011 the MDL reinstated asbestos actions, of which this case was a part.  The defendant ship owners moved for summary judgment, arguing that (1) the non-malignancy claims were barred by judicial estoppel because …

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Post-Bankruptcy Petition Malignancy Claim Not “Sufficiently Rooted” in Pre-Bankruptcy Past to Constitute Property of the Estate

In a follow-up to cases previously reported on in ACT, the plaintiffs in this case, Administrators of the Estate of Bjorn Dahl, alleged that the decedent, Mr. Dahl, was exposed to asbestos while working aboard various ships. The plaintiffs assert that the decedent developed two asbestos-related illnesses, a non-malignancy injury dating back to 1995 and a malignancy claim arising in 1997, as a result of his exposure to asbestos aboard those ships. In 1995, Mr. Dahl brought claims for non-malignant asbestos-related disease. Mr. Dahl’s …

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Two Rulings From MDL Allow Previously Dismissed Asbestos Claims to Proceed Against Various Ship Owners Despite Previous Dismissed Actions Not Listed as Assets in Bankruptcy

In a follow-up to six cases previously reported on in ACT, two more cases were decided in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Both cases had started in the Northern District of Ohio, and were transferred to the MDL 875 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In both cases, the plaintiffs brought claims against various ship owners represented by Thompson Hine LLP, and all alleged asbestos exposure while working on ships. All cases were administratively dismissed; after dismissal, the plaintiffs …

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Granting of Summary Judgment Upheld on Appeal; Court Rules Time to File Suit Began with Prior Diagnosis of Asbestosis Based on Virginia Statute of Limitations

The plaintiff in this case alleges that the decedent, Vincent Gatto, was exposed to asbestos while self-employed as a brick mason in Virginia. The decedent was diagnosed with asbestosis in 2003 and then with mesothelioma in 2010. The action was filed in 2011.  Following the close of discovery, several defendants moved for summary judgment “based upon the Virginia statute of limitations, Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-243(A), which requires that an action for personal injury must be brought within two years after the cause of action …

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Chunk of Rulings From MDL Allow Previously Dismissed Asbestos Claims to Proceed Even Though Not Listed As Assets In Bankruptcy

Six cases were decided in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; all started in the Northern District of Ohio, and were transferred to the MDL 875 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In all six cases, the plaintiffs brought claims against various shipowners represented by Thompson Hine LLP, and all alleged asbestos exposure while working on ships. All cases were administratively dismissed; after dismissal, the plaintiffs filed for bankruptcy, and did not list their asbestos claims as assets. After bankruptcy …

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Federal Court Applies Laws of New Jersey and the Third Circuit in Allowing Experts to Testify Regarding General, Not Specific, Causation in Case Alleging Renal Cancer

The plaintiff alleged that he developed renal cancer from asbestos exposure while working at the Philadelphia Navy yard, the New York Shipbuilding yard, and various automotive and electric shops in New Jersey. In July 2013, this case was removed to the federal court in Pennsylvania as part of MDL-875. Defendant Ford moved to exclude the expert testimony of Arthur Frank, M.D., Ph. D., and Scott A. Bralow, D.O., because: (1) the “any exposure” theory underlying their opinions has been deemed inadmissible under Pennsylvania law; (2) …

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Years After Bankruptcy Case Closed, Reopening of Asbestos Claims by MDL Not Judicially Estopped Due to Failure to List Claims in Bankruptcy Petition

In 1997, the decedent’s claims for asbestos exposure against shipowners represented by Thompson Hine LLP were administratively dismissed, with the option of pursuing at a later date. In 1999, the decedent brought claims against various defendants, including the shipowners represented by Thompson Hine LLP. In 2001, the decedent received a separate cancer diagnosis that he claimed was asbestos related; he died in 2002. In 2003, his widow, the plaintiff, filed for bankruptcy, which was closed four months later. In 2011, the MDL reinstated the action …

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